I recently spent about 48 hours in Baltimore for a whirlwind tour of the city’s historic sites. My home-away-from-home for the trip was the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott – Baltimore Inner Harbor. Despite its incredibly long and complicated name, this hotel is one I’d recommend for families, couples and business travelers headed to Baltimore. What makes the Fairfield so great?
They’ll still leave the light on for you, but now the lights are eco-friendly. A historic moment for Motel 6 – The Northlake, TX Motel 6 is now the first economy hotel in the US to attain LEED certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
This makes it the greenest budget hotel in the US. But it’s not just all about the green (as in money and eco-friendly), though. The hotel also happens to be new and in mint condition, and not coincidentally - also very stylish.
The Northlake property is part of the new wave of ‘Phoenix’ design Motel 6 properties. This design won an award for its stunning Euro-chic features from Travel + Leisure magazine, which gave the Phoenix design it’s 2010 Design Award for ‘Best Large Hotel.’
Element Hotels is offering an ’I Am Not a Plastic’ package. Bring ten single-use plastic bottles, and you get a free night over the Earth Day Weekend (April 22-25).
It’s an offer limited by time and place, available only to the first 100 guests who call on or after April 5.
Element hotels are currently open only in Las Vegas, Baltimore, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Lexington, MA and Ewing, NJ.
There’s a new Element opening soon in New York, followed by another one in Omaha, but they won’t be open for this promo.
As for the plastic, apparently Americans use 4 million plastic bottles every hour, yet only one bottle out of four is recycled. When buried, some plastic material may last for 700 years.
100 guests bringing in 10 bottles each to Element means there’s 1000 bottles less polluting the planet. So, for that one hour on April 5, you can consider the bottle count to be 2,999,000 bottles, instead of 3 million. Yes, its depressing, but Element earns brownie points for trying.
It was launched in 2008 as Starwood’s eco-chic brand, with all the Element Hotels being designed, built and operated to attain LEED certification from the USGBC.
In addition to all the usual green stuff like using eco-friendly material and energy conservation, recycling bins, etc., Element has also taken the unusual step of installing electric car charging stations at all its properties.
Photo courtesy Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Hey, it’s Earth Day! Let’s talk about green hotels!
One way you can tell if a hotel is eco-friendly if they are LEED-certified. People usually think of this as something that you get on new construction, confirming that the design and construction process was done in an environmentally sensitive way. What you may not know is that it’s also possible to upgrade an existing building to LEED standards, and receive an LEED EB certification.
A property can earn credits for an LEED EB certification in the areas of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. In a way, it’s even better than a straight up LEED certification (which is already pretty amazing) because it confirms that the property is actually performing up to environmental standards, above and beyond the design.
So far there are only two hotels in the U.S. which have managed to take an existing property and achieve this badge of honor, both in California: The Ambrose in Santa Monica, and the Orchard Hotel in San Francisco.
The Ambrose earned their LEED-EB certification in July 2008. It’s a gorgeous “sustainable boutique” hotel, with an an Arts & Crafts inspired design. Located near Wilshire, it’s a five minute drive to Venice Beach and that crazy boardwalk.
Guests at The Ambrose enjoy complimentary organic continental breakfast and you can rent a hybrid car on-site. Hybrid vehicles also get “preferred” parking!
Their green practices include water conservation, non-toxic housekeeping products and methods, and a waste reduction program.
The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco just received their LEED-EB certification this month. Like sister property, The Orchard Garden Hotel, which was the first hotel in California to be LEED certified, this is a boutique hotel, set in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood, with a heart of green.
Cable cars and shopping are just steps away from the front door of The Orchard, while inside the rooms offer an oasis of environmentally-friendly luxury. Rooms have recycled textiles, are cleaned with organic, citrus-based cleaning products, and all of the paper products — even the toilet paper! — is recycled.
Now that these trailblazers have demonstrated that you can have a profitable luxury hotel that is uber-green, expect — or even demand! — to see more properties with LEED and LEED EB ratings. It’s the hotel trend of the future!